{Quit Your Day Job, featuring The Blogarista}

Editors note:
It has been 8 months since I quit my day job to work on Gussy Sews full time — and to help celebrate the anniversary of this little dream of mine, I’ve put together a {Quit Your Day Job} mini-series.

This mini-series is almost complete — just a few most stories to share Thursday and Friday. xxoo

*


Bio:

I’m Sarah aka The Blogarista. We live in the Dallas area where I’m “mama” to a handsome 3 ½ year old son and step mom to a beautiful 11 year old daughter. I’ve always been into computers and the web but when I met my web developer/engineer husband in 2004 things took off for me. I spent several years learning more about computer programming languages and after having my son in 2007 started toying around with Joomla and WordPress. I spent the next 2 years absorbing all I could about programming, design, social media, WordPress, and marketing. After being a full time SAHM I wanted “more” but didn’t want to leave my son. I “proposed” a social media/marketing position to a former employer who hired me on full time as their Marketing Director from home! I’ve always been quiet so you can tell how strongly I felt about that! Unfortunately they decided to eliminate my position among others this past July. I had spent a few months freelancing WordPress design installations for a blog design company and realized that Blogger designs far outweigh affordable WordPress designers. It was then I realized that it was time to follow my dreams of owning my own business.

Every morning I wake up and take our daughter to school and then I get to work. My son goes to Mother’s Day Out two days a week which allows for a little quiet time. On other days I divide my day between him and work. Our daughter has soccer a few times a week so on those nights I get the house to myself to concentrate on blog posts and clients. It gets really hectic around here sometimes but thankfully I’ve been able to pull it off the last five months! The Blogarista was intended to be a DIY web design blog. When I was learning WordPress I had to really dig for any information that I needed or decipher the language more advanced programmers might use. Knowing that other women might want to build their own sites I hoped to simplify it for them. I would also offer my services for those that didn’t want to do it themselves. However, the services part took off so much I’m struggling with the blogging part. Right now I offer graphic design services for web and print, WordPress blog /website design, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) reviews & consulting and just about anything else tech related. I go beyond what other designers offer for a more affordable rate. Most other designers only install your header, background and other design options. They do not set up the hosting or move your site from Blogger to WordPress. I set up your hosting account, install WordPress on the server, install themes, plugins, widgets and even content. I’ve also been hired to trouble shoot and “repair” SQL databases, code in additional functions to existing WordPress themes (such as a new widget area) and even alter plugins coding so that they look or act the way the client wants. I’m an all-around tech “guru” and I actually ENJOY teaching and sharing my knowledge with others in an understandable language.

The Interview:

1. What were some ways you prepared to become a handmade biz owner {your day-to-day schedule, financially, emotionally, etc.}?
Since I was laid off without prior notice we didn’t have time to prepare. Fortunately we could afford for me to give it a try. I tried my hardest to get organized in regards to my files and programs but ran out of time there! I also spent a lot of time on my own blog before actually announcing it. I was nervous about jumping in to the blog design world but so far so good!

2. Share with us a positive “ah-hah” moment from this process.
My ah-hah moments are probably different from handmade crafters. So far the only one I’ve had was when I took on two graphic designer friends to assist with the design process. Once I had their help it freed up more time on my end to write blog posts and do the actual development end of installing and setting up a WordPress site. It was an “ah-hah” moment because while others may appear to do it all themselves that doesn’t mean they aren’t contracting out help behind the scenes.

3. What was the time frame from when you decided you were going to quit to when you actually put in your notice/took some serious steps toward becoming self-employed?
Since I didn’t quit (I was laid off) I didn’t have a time frame. I did however give myself 2 months once my position ended to get my blog up and running. I was able to meet that goal even though my own blog remains a work in progress! My clients blogs and websites end up looking better than my own because I devote all my time to them.

4. What was your first day like as a handmade biz owner? Describe your feelings, were you really excited? Did it seem soooo weird to be home/self-employed? Share this moment with us.
For me my first day was about interacting with potential clients. I had already made a few friends on Twitter and I am lucky to have a few bloggers as friends. I began interacting with them as well as others as The Blogarista instead of Sarah. I just remember being very excited that others were paying attention to my tweets and I was gaining followers. Being at home didn’t feel any different to me because I have worked from home before. I’ve just never been my own boss! It was very exciting and refreshing to finally be able to pursue my dream of working for myself and controlling my own career path.

5. Do you write out a “schedule” for each day? How do you divide and organize your time?
I haven’t but I’m going to start! The past four months have been so crazy. However, I’m at a point where I have decided I have to make time to develop a schedule. For my business my typical schedule will probably include checking my stats/analytics, reading industry news, correspondence time, client time, and planning time. The majority of my day will go to client projects. I will take breaks periodically throughout the day to take care of my son and any errands. My day is devoted to my son and my company. Household chores are only done after business hours. I’m also going to make myself stop working at a certain time and stick to that. I tend to overwork and I don’t want to get burned out or neglect my family time.

6. What is a current challenge are you facing, and how do you plan to overcome it?
A current challenge for me would be pricing. I have a really hard time accepting that my work is worth far more than I charge. Even though I want to be affordable I have to make it worth my time. I put in a LOT of time to each project so in the end it seems I’m making $1 an hour! That isn’t realistic and beneficial for myself or family. Going forward I will set new pricing. I will try to have faith that clients will pay what my services are worth. Which is scary for me but I will get through it.

7. What are three tips you can to pass along to someone that’s ready to make the leap? :]
Research, Plan, and Leap! Make sure to research the market you are leaping into as well as the clients. In order to succeed you must be providing a product or service that customers want or need. If the market is saturated you must find a way to stand out and show the customer base why you are unique. Having a plan to stick to is also very important and prevents you from losing focus. Without a plan it can get very stressful really fast. You must have faith in yourself and make the leap. It’s kind of like having babies. If you wait until you are truly “ready” you may wait forever. So when you are in the position to quit your career kick your plan into action and make that leap. Have faith in yourself!

Connect with Sarah:
Facebook
Twitter
Blog

Share with us: What do you need to “leap” towards?
[see you tomorrow!]


Comments

  1. 1

    says

    You described me in the last part of your post. I over research and plan. I am not waiting for things to be perfect but “optimum” and I am now afraid I am past peak ripeness.

    I also agree that pricing is a very difficult issue for me.
    LOVE your idea of the Social Media position you created for yourself. Way to go!

    Do you think you can explain to me how to add that thing to my WP blog that shows when people on my blogroll last posted? (I know I have to trim my blogroll.)

    Wishing you wonderful success and a smooth schedule as you transition.

  2. 4

    says

    I’ve had the pleasure of meeting “The Blogarista” in person and she’s lovely! I’m so excited to be working with her on my upcoming blog redesign. She truly offers such an awesome service to WP bloggers. Can’t wait to see her continue to grow.

  3. 5

    says

    Thanks for the great series, & such inspiring ladies!

    I’ve come in at the end of the series but am off to read the rest!

    Congrats on 9 mths out of your day job! You guys inspire the rest of us to keep working towards that goal!

    Have a great time at Blissdom :)

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